Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins: ‘People really thought that only men loved action movies’
As the first female director of a Marvel or DC film, Jenkins has gently reinterpreted the superhero genre, bringing love and compassion to the world of fights and fantasy
At a sunbaked studio lot in LAs Culver City, a table laden with red and blue cake pops styled with miniature fondant headbands is drawing smiles: superheroes, in small and edible form. They are tiny and temporary (gone in a gulp), which is especially pleasing when you accept them for what they are homage to something huge and potentially lasting.
The new Wonder Woman movie, with its images of sword-wielding Gal Gadot now all over billboards, buses and social media feeds, is aiming to do for superhero movies what the excellent and feminist Mad Max: Fury Road did for action blockbusters. Its progressive yet crowdpleasing, faithful to the tenets of the genre yet wise to its own absurdities. In short, its a game-raiser for reasons beyond the fact that it is also the first ever Marvel or DC movie to be directed by a woman. She is 45-year-old Patty Jenkins, a soft-hearted hard-ass who has waited nearly 15 years for this moment. Jenkins is also only the second female director to command a budget of more than $100m.
Her last movie, 2003s Monster, was also her debut. It won Charlize Theron an Oscar for her portrayal of real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos and it won Jenkins the attention of major studios. When she told Warner Brothers that she wanted to make a Wonder Woman movie, it began a very long conversation. The history of the film, in fact, is a saga more complicated and much more boring than any Marvel or DC storyline and with a bigger cast, too. Jenkins, the umpteenth director attached to the project, was finally hired in April 2015.